Double champ Farah targets African elite

LONG distance king Mo Farah insists his European double gold is just the kick-start he needs for a crack at the Africans.

The 27-year-old won the hearts of the nation last week by leading Great Britain to a best ever European Championships campaign with gold in both the 5,000m and 10,000m in Barcelona.

Despite earning his status as European No1, Farah is yet to make his presence felt on the world stage, finishing only sixth and seventh in the last two World Championships.

But now the Somali-born athlete has set his sights on breaking the African stranglehold on the longer distances – in particular by double world champion Keninisa Bekele – and giving his home crowd something to cheer at London 2012.

“The Olympics is what it’s about abut,” Farah told City.A.M. “I know we have the worlds and the 2012 European Championships to come beforehand, but winning in front on your home crowd at an Olympic Games has to be the main goal.

“Winning double gold in Barcelona was an amazing feeling but everything is back to normal now, it’s all sunk in, and I’m back in training for the next chapter.”

Farah’s next appearance is at the London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace next weekend before turns his attentions to the Commonwealth Games, where Ethiopian Bekele won’t be running, but a host of talented Kenyan athletes will.

“It’s about taking my performance to the next level,” Farah added. “Although I’ve been around for five years, I feel I’m learning all the time and Barcelona was good for me in that I discovered I was mentally strong enough to run both the 5,000m and 10,000m – something I’d never done before.

“To win both was a great feeling, but I know I will have to continue to work hard to make the next step up and better my performances in the last two worlds’.”

Mo Farah is taking part in next week’s Aviva London Grand Prix. In preparation, Street Pole Vault comes to the city today, where Britain’s promising young athletes show off their skills from 12.30pm to 2pm at Montgomery Square.